"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ohio Slavic Papers: Eastern Christian Studies

In October of last year, there was an excellent conference of the Association for the Study of Eastern Christian History and Culture at Ohio State University in Columbus, OH. I attended both out of interest and also to represent Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies.

That conference was the third of three to be held so far. The first inaugural conference was held at OSU in 2005, and its papers are now in print. I have received them this week from one of the editors, Jenn Spock. "Eastern Christian Studies" is a sub-series of the Ohio Slavic Papers, a series published by Ohio State's Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Literatures.

This thick volume (xxviii+415pp.), denominated as volume 1 of the sub-series and volume 9 of the OSP series (ISBN: 9780893579824; ISSN: 19327617), edited by Spock and Russell Martin of Westminster College, along with assistance from M.A. Johnson,  offers a wide range of papers on the 2005 conference theme: "Culture and Identity in Eastern Christian History." Herewith a summary of the some of the contents, and then longer comments later after I've read more of the pieces:

Predrag Matejic of the wonderful Hilandar Research Library at OSU offers a preface to this volume before the introduction by the editors. Twenty-four articles then follow on an enormous range of topics, including:
  • epigraphic texts for pre-Christian Slavic religions (by Matilde Casas Olea); 
  • Russia and the independent Greek Church (by Lucien Frary), 
  • the Russian Church under Ivan IV (by Charles Halperin); 
  • female monasticism in Russia (three articles: one by Scott Kenworthy, another by Nadieszda Kizenko, and a third by Marlyn Miller); 
  • demon-possession in Russia (Eve Levin); 
  • Old Believers in Latvia (Roy Robson); 
  • Bulgakov: two articles on his thought in relation to questions of identity (T.A. Smith, Scott Lingenfelter);
  • Christianity and Magic in Kievan Rus (Susana Torres Prieto-Hay);
  • American Orthodox converts and their notions of tradition and identity "à la carte" (Amy Slagle);
  • the keynote address: "The Formation of Byzantine Identity" by Warren Treadgold.

In sum, this is a very impressive and wide-ranging collection of very scholarly papers, and includes abstracts of each paper at the end, along with many plates and illustrations in several articles, especially those touching on liturgical and patristic texts. It is not the kind of thing one could easily dip into for light bedtime reading, but it most certainly is a volume that belongs in every self-respecting scholarly library, and deserves attention from scholars in the field of Eastern Christian studies and related areas.

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